Moses was called by God, once again, to meet with Him on the mountain, early in the morning. We read God’s invitation to Moses in:
Exodus 34:2 (NKJV) “So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.”
Although I realize this was a unique calling for Moses the mediator of the Law to go up the mountain, in one sense I believe it’s a call for all of us; to be ready and start the day, all alone with God; He wants to speak to us, and even write His Word on the tablets of our heart (2 Corinthians 3:3).
When Moses met with God, the LORD revealed Himself even more. Moses had asked the LORD to show him His way, His face, His glory, something impossible on this side of time (Exodus 33:20), but God would show him His afterglow.
Did you notice what God said about Himself? His words present the Biblical balance between God’s graciousness and God’s holiness. He is gracious, long-suffering abounding in goodness and truth; He’s merciful and always ready to forgive – but He does not clear the guilty, His Holiness is obligated to repay iniquity, to generation after generation. God is patient and willing to forgive any and all who place their faith in Christ, but if a person refuses to accept His gracious gift provided in His Son, they will be found guilty before God. (Romans 11:22)
Our holy, holy, holy God cannot wink at sin; it will either be judged at Calvary by Christ on our behalf, or we will bear the weight of an infinite offense against God…forever and ever. The choice is ours.
Moses did not want to go anywhere without God (he was wise in that) and the Lord graciously obliged, just as He does with us (Psalm 139:7-10). God promised to go with them and lead them into the Promised-Land, but they were to beware not to be conformed to the ways of this world (Romans 12:2). Don’t worship at their altars, don’t walk in their ways, and whatever you do, don’t wed non-believers, you’ll be led astray and destroy your children in the process.
God went on to give Moses laws that resembled His earlier statutes, and He personally “penned” the Ten Commandments on the two tablets of stone (Exodus 34:1, 28).
Imagine how awesome this time with God must have been, especially considering the fact that Moses fasted supernaturally (no food or water, nothing feeding the flesh) for 40 days! Wow! This intimate time with God had a profound effect on Moses, so much so that whenever he left God’s presence, he would be glowing, and the people would see it. Isn’t this how it should be with us as well? May we spend time with God and bask in His radiance to the point that it’s noticeable to others. I believe that quantity quality time with God – all alone – will bring us to the point of not just knowing, but glowing as lights in this dark, dark world (Philippians 2:15). Paul the Apostle wrote about this in great detail in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18. Paul shared that if the Old Covenant produced such results, how much more the New Covenant, which brings us the Personal power of the Holy Spirit? Paul shared how the glow of the Old Covenant faded away, but the glow of the New Covenant doesn’t, it should only grow stronger, the more we gaze into the face of Jesus, the more and more we should become like Him, evident to all – for in Christ, the veil is taken away, there’s no veil between us and God and there should be no veil between us and others.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
How wonderful to read that the God of the Second Chance gave them another opportunity as a congregation to not only live for Him but give to Him. Whoever is of a willing heart, let that person bring their offering to the Lord (Exodus 35:5). May we give financially from a willing heart, may we even be willing to give to God all of our heart (Proverbs 23:26).
When Jesus stood before Pilate, it was clear to the Roman Governor that He was completely innocent. Pilate was acutely aware that the religious leaders had handed Jesus over because of envy.
What a horrible sin envy is! The religious leaders of the day simply hated the way Jesus was wise and wonderful, loving and beautiful, so gracious and gifted; they hated how the people were blessed and impressed and began to follow Jesus more than them. They chose to hate rather than celebrate. May we never envy, may we genuinely learn to rejoice when others are blessed by God and used by God.
“Pilate knows the high priest and the Sanhedrin are not concerned about threats to Roman rule; rather, they are envious of Jesus’ popularity and feel threatened by his authoritative ministry.” – ESV Study Bible
Pilate tries to wiggle his way out of making the decision, by offering the people a choice between Barabbas (a notorious criminal and murderer according to Mark 15:7) or Jesus. Surely they would choose Jesus! They didn’t!
Jesus did nothing wrong, Pilate knew it, His wife knew it, the leaders knew it, everyone did, but the crowd was swayed by those in positions of power. Pilate caved, and Jesus was sentenced to be crucified. He could wash his hands, but he could not wash his heart, and he could not wash away history. He would forever be known as the man in the chronicles of humanity who had that responsibility, and sentenced our Savior to die.
The Lord was stripped and draped with a scarlet robe; the crown of thorns pressed into His head would be symbolic of the way He claimed our curse (Genesis 3:18).
They mockingly bowed before Him; spat on Him, struck Him, and led Him away to be crucified. He had already been beaten and scourged with the cat of 9-tails (leather strands with bones and rocks that would tear away the flesh). Many men did not even survive the scourging, but Jesus was a man’s man. All this after sweating drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, a medical condition known as hematidrosis, which would make the skin tender and frail. I can’t imagine the pain.
(If you would like a detailed look at what Jesus experienced, here’s a link to an article that has moved my heart over the years – Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion.)
I can’t help but think of:
Isaiah 53:4-7 (NKJV) “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
It would be the clearest and greatest demonstration of love in all eternity (Romans 5:8).
What an amazing Psalm written to impact us nationally:
Psalm 33:12 (NKJV) “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”
What an amazing Psalm written to teach us individually:
Psalm 33:15 (NKJV) “He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”
We ponder the fact that salvation and deliverance comes both nationally and individually – only – from God.
It’s not armies, or horses, or tanks, or jets, or missiles; it’s not men or the things that men might manufacture; it’s not pastor, politicians, or physicians we look to (although God can use any and all of those aforementioned) ultimately we look only to God.
Psalm 33:20 (NKJV) “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.”
The first 9 chapters of Proverbs are largely an invitation from Wisdom to come and get it, sign-up to seek and study, look and long to be a man or woman of wisdom.
Here we have Wisdom personified as a woman, redeeming the feminine, preparing a meal, calling the simple (that’s me without God) to come and take it all in, enroll in this class, learn this book, be blessed with the skill of living life successfully in the eyes of God, learn how to connect the dots, and cultivate wisdom which is the application of Word of God.
She has hewn out her seven pillars: “The primary idea is that wisdom’s house is large, well appointed, and unshakable.” – David Guzik
That’s the type of house we should all want…so let’s turn:
Proverbs 9:4–6 (NKJV) “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here! As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 5 “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.’”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.